• Alexa de los Reyes

On your last nerve? Try grounding

If you've been feeling frazzled, anxious, unsettled, scattered, panicky, or disoriented, your nervous system might be short-circuiting. It's time to kick off your shoes and socks, sink into a soft spot of grass, and get grounded.

When the soles of our feet make contact with the Earth we literally ground the body's nervous system, like grounding an electrical outlet. Connecting to dirt, grass, rocks, sand, or mud allows for a natural electromagnetic exchange with the Earth that is important for our health and, unfortunately, increasingly rare.

We have thousands of nerve endings in our feet that transmit information -- electrical impulses -- to the rest of the body. With shoes on (especially with non-conductive rubber soles) that information is muted or blocked. Being barefoot, particularly outside on natural surfaces, stimulates these nerve endings and regulates the whole body's electrical system. As animals, this process orients us in space and provides us with a deep sense of security, bringing us back in touch with "reality," as opposed to all the noise in our heads.

Recent scientific studies measuring the health impacts of "earthing" (contact with the Earth's electromagnetic surface) confirm there are many physical benefits to doing so. There are even products you can buy to ground your bed and different areas of your house.

I don't know whether those products are worth investing in, but I know that taking twenty minutes to "plug" your system into the ground generates deep feelings of calm, security, and connectedness. Go find yourself a patch of dirt and plug in!

Here are a few simple grounding approaches to try:

  • Take off your shoes and socks, sit, stand, or walk outside for at least twenty minutes. Sitting or lying directly on the ground is also great for your system, particularly with skin-to-ground contact.

  • Stand on dirt, grass, sand, rocks, mud, whatever you prefer, take some deep breaths, and try to "see" through your feet. My son had fun identifying the "personalities" of different surfaces (his words) -- for example, that stone was "very serious" and the grass was "happy-go-lucky."

  • If you don't currently have access to the outdoors, try spending a few minutes massaging and tuning into your feet. Use as much pressure as you can handle and pay attention to sensations. I love this three-part massage demonstrated by energy medicine practitioner Prune Harris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meFSoh90ka0

  • Try taking a stainless steel spoon (test it by making sure it attracts a magnet), and rubbing the rounded side all along the soles of your feet. This encourages the electrons in the body to align appropriately and is very calming. It is great to do with children before bed.

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